In The News

Multi-decade "megadrought" possible in U.S. Southwest this century

After two years with little precipitation, California’s record-setting drought is beginning to look more like desertification than below-average rainfall. Over the past 18 months, 63 trillion gallons of water have drained from the state’s reservoirs -- so vast a deficit that the ground has risen up to half an inch under the reduced load. But a recent study shows that this sort of extreme drought is neither a new occurrence nor anything close to the full extent of its potential severity. In fact, decade-spanning “megadroughts” could become far more common in the southwestern U.S. and other parts of the world. “A decade-long drought is not where we stop.

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Undergraduate researchers study changing aquifers, sustaining streamflow

A few years ago, when a new science building in was in the works on the University of Southern Indiana, geology professor Paul Doss came to the architects with an idea: Let him drill two monitoring wells into the sandstone aquifer on the site and then build the rest of the building around them. They went for it, and data from the ground-floor lab has since provided some insights into how the aquifer functions while giving the undergraduate geology students a crack at meaningful real-world research. Pressure transducers at the bottoms of the 60-meter and 100-meter wells record water levels every hour and have produced a five-year continuous record of changes in the water table.

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Surface temperatures show 2014 on pace to be one of hottest years ever

Data collected by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate 2014 might end up being one of the hottest years on record, according to TreeHugger . This comes after a fierce winter brought frigid temperatures to North America that hadn’t been felt for decades. Besides trending a little down in February 2014, global surface temperatures are so far on pace to claim the spot for the third hottest year since 1880. They are already 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th century average. Warmer temperatures can make drought conditions, like those in California , worse. They could also have impacts on the prevalence of climate anomalies.

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